I have to say- this one is a downer. Do not pick up if you thought this would be a fun little read- because it's just downright heartbreaking. I didn'I have to say- this one is a downer. Do not pick up if you thought this would be a fun little read- because it's just downright heartbreaking. I didn't see how dark it really would get.
(view spoiler)[ That being said- this one really caught me by surprise. I didn't see a lot of it coming. Each time she'd get in a situation- I'd think that here was the part she turned herself around- became the dressmaker she wanted to be. Instead all we got was worse and worse. By the end I wanted to cry. I wanted her to come out triumphant- strong. I wanted a strong female. And she was strong- but the odds were stacked against her- she didn't have a chance. I guess this is what made it so good in the end- because it tackled a realism. Not a give-the-readers-what-they-want ending, but a realistic ending. A disappointing ending.
I wouldn't say I loved the ending- I was deeply disturbed by the ending, but the sadness of it all- but it was an appropriate ending. She made mistakes, she lived in a time that was not lenient towards mistakes, a time when mistakes cost you more than other time periods. The struggle of the time period and her mistakes cost her her life ultimately. She had chances to set on a different path, but that's not what she chose, because she wasn't too good at learning from her mistakes.
I was gripped by the book- I really didn't want to put it down. The story was intriguing. The characters, although there weren't many, were well defined by the author.
Overall, I really enjoyed reading this. I wish it had ended differently- happily, but again, it makes for an interesting read maybe because it's not what you expect. (hide spoiler)]["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
I borrowed this on audio book and the author ruined it I think. Next time, Buddy, get an actor to breathe some life into a book. For a book whose charI borrowed this on audio book and the author ruined it I think. Next time, Buddy, get an actor to breathe some life into a book. For a book whose characters already fell flat, listening to the author drone on in a monotone made them even flatter as well as taking the story down also. Thanks for making sure I fell asleep Clegg. Also, there were just too many characters, making it hard it hard to follow. Meh....more
This was a very entertaining read and I got through it quickly. The topic is interesting, the characters are well fleshed out, and the story was well-This was a very entertaining read and I got through it quickly. The topic is interesting, the characters are well fleshed out, and the story was well-written. I would even pick up another Colm Toibin book thanks to this.
I was just not a fan of the main character. She had no spine and no struggles. ...more
I was going to give this book 2 stars, but, I just got finished with the last quarter of the book. This last quarter was angering. This totaled the boI was going to give this book 2 stars, but, I just got finished with the last quarter of the book. This last quarter was angering. This totaled the book. The 2 stars was for the writing of Esther's story and the amazing reader who read it (audiobook version), but now I can't even give it 2 stars. I just can't.
First of all, let's just clarify, this book is really not about the "Thirty Girls". Don't let that title fool you. This book should have been named "Desperately Thirty Something" because this was the novel of a self-centered, insecure, lame "journalist". The side story being of the thirty girls. Spoiler alert, you will not like any of the white characters in this book. None are likable.
This "journalist" is on assignment in Uganda to tell the story of these thirty girls- mostly told from Esther's viewpoint. But mostly this is about the protagonist's personal drama- falling in love with a brief affair she's having while out there on "assignment." She hangs out with a bunch of thrill seekers, and is almost ready to abandon her "assignment" to be with these other self-centered, highly unlikable characters, but decides to interview Esther finally. Here comes the kicker- Janet, the "journalist", makes a real connection in one chapter in the last quarter of the book with Esther, turning Esther away out of her grief. Esther is able to see life anew thanks to this Janet character and is able to change- to see the positive. Seriously? Barf. Not even remotely likely. This woman according to the story had just been kidnapped, raped a bunch, seen a lot of her friends die from cruelty and AIDS; and suddenly a white lady comes by to interview her, gives her a hug and a necklace with a dragonfly, and la-di-da, life is good?? Yeah...I don't buy it.
Also in the last quarter of the book, Janet goes up to Nairobi where her affair ends. The guy just realizes he doesn't want to be with Janet, and that night, gets shot right outside his property on the street, and dies a few hours later. Somehow this is overlooked by desperate Jane, as after his death, she is still thinking about how they would be together and what if he hadn't died, and how much he impact he had on her. Absolutely zero cares given- I am not driven to care because throughout the book, Janet was whiny, needy, dependent, and self-ingratiating. The man in the affair- the reader barely got to know him either, but nothing spectacular stood out about him either. The book ends with some dialogue that said "what to do" a lot. She "could" help the girls some more, she thought...."what to do what to do?" She clearly needs some one to point her in the right direction.
Goodreads should not be placing this in the same recommendations as Radiance of Tomorrow. What was the point to this story? Was there any? I regret finishing this garbage.
1.5 stars- the half for the settings and descriptions. Otherwise- this book is a waste of time. It starts off fast paced- sucks you in, but then you g1.5 stars- the half for the settings and descriptions. Otherwise- this book is a waste of time. It starts off fast paced- sucks you in, but then you get a little farther in and it slows down. And not only does it slow down, but you really don't get to know some of the characters. The mother, the father, even the sister, and the rescuer. None of these. I felt as though the rescuer just came out of left field. His actions were atypical and only hinted at that he could ever have good intentions. Poor character development. I didn't end up feeling much of anything for any of the characters, aside from hoping that the kidnapped girl escapes.
The terms "the girl", "the boy", "the young man", the "old man", were over-used and got confusing at times especially when there were characters of the same age- aka Reed and Sean. I understood the point of connecting it to family, but this was overkill, and got too annoying.
Also, the smoking? What was the point of this? There was too much reference to smoking. If there was some point, I'd be fine with it, but it just seemed like this was thrown in too much. Also, thrown in- last moment- "God." Just thrown in there. One minute we're talking about what it's like to have a daughter/sister kidnapped, and bam there's fate and god thrown in at the last minute, as if he realized too late that he wanted to include this theme.
Other than that, the story jumps around a lot. One minute the family is together, the next, the family is missing the girl- the father has become a bad ass mountain/ranch man, the son has disappeared and become a mess, and the mother has gone off to a hospital with mental struggles. There's just the jump- there's no leading into this, it just is.
I agree with other reader who say they just skimmed a lot of this. The story is meant to be about the family and it's trails and tribulations with this, but really, I think a lot readers were more interested in what happened to the girl. This just isn't that story. It's disappointing and I feel like it could have been so much better. Also, mislabeled a "thriller". I got this expecting a good dark read for a good dark rainy week, but this had no such "thriller" in it. ...more
Hard to read initially, but once you really get going, it's fun. It gives you an inner-voice to work with.
I really enjoyed the antihero in the book.Hard to read initially, but once you really get going, it's fun. It gives you an inner-voice to work with.
I really enjoyed the antihero in the book. He was selfish, he was brutal, he was prideful and vain, he was not really a good person. He had a reality to him and it was fun to read, even if you were cringing sometimes.
The whole story was well written and I enjoyed this- I would recommend it. ...more
We start the story off in a building with a bunch of children who live in cells and travel to a class in a serious restraint chair. They are sprayed wWe start the story off in a building with a bunch of children who live in cells and travel to a class in a serious restraint chair. They are sprayed with chemicals in a shower and are forced to eat maggots. How could they be treated so horribly? The children learn about the world around them and live without touch. Melanie is a very gifted child with high intelligence and yearns to be held lovingly. We learn that this is a base and that there is one other town out there, but the rest of the world has gone- changed irrevocably- by the "Hungries" and "Junkies" out there. Quickly we find out just what that means.
Life takes a sudden change when chaos breaks out. From here it becomes a tale of survival and humanity.
This is a zombie book (given away in the first couple chapters)- and it earns its 5 stars. There is beautiful character development- people are not just one sided or good v evil. There are tense parts, scary parts, and a lot of suspense, but also a lot of story development. Things flow easily and I found myself not wanting to put this book down. Seriously enjoyable....more
This book was a book I enjoyed reading, however, it had a lot of weaknesses. The story dragged on, dragging with it history not really necessary to thThis book was a book I enjoyed reading, however, it had a lot of weaknesses. The story dragged on, dragging with it history not really necessary to the story at hand. What I thought would just be a love story turned into historical ramblings and a lot of familial drama. The story itself was choppy, edging from light and fun to dark and long. I felt it's tone jumped a bit too much. At the end I felt like enough was enough and felt there were many part to roll my eyes at. No real surprises in the love story narrative.
What I enjoyed were the sprinkling in of the fairy tales, the overall story, the beautiful care the author took in painting the scenery with words. I think it could have been edited down a bit more and some of the parts taken out/shortened. Others may also enjoy the historical bits of this more than I did- but for me it felt a bit dry. ...more
This was such a good book in so many ways. I don't think it should be compared to Gone Girl at all. It's a great book because the characters are so weThis was such a good book in so many ways. I don't think it should be compared to Gone Girl at all. It's a great book because the characters are so well laid out- the story interesting.
The first part of the book- Lotto's book- it's slow and boring. I think that's a major complaint. It drawls on- but I think that may be the author's point. I almost put it down out of frustration. Here is this character- who doesn't see the world around him- he's lucky, privileged, and pretentious (and fell very flat). He can't survive on his own without Mathilde. Can't see his own potential without Mathilde. I didn't care about all his plays, his trivial woes. He was a bit of a sad character. It's boring to read. A few times I felt like rolling my eyes, but again, I think this is the author's plan in order to paint a fuller picture of her other main character- Mathilde. I just wish she could have some how warned the reader. There were a few times when it was a bit foreshadowed- something lurking in Mathilde's eyes, a disappearance of Mathilde from the story, but overall, I was just wondering if I should even bother reading on.
The reader is rewarded in the second half of the book when Mathilde's part picks up. With the stark contrast it flies by. Mathilde's character not only gives her own character a depth, but shapes out Lotto's a bit more. Her part fills in parts from the first to bring it to a whole, and this is what makes it a great story. She is colorful and deep, she is tangible and vibrant. She fleshes out the story with color.
Beautiful writing. Interesting and exciting to read. I would recommend....more
3.5 stars. This was a fun read- and quick once you get into it. It took awhile for the author to set up the characters and I'm not sure they needed al3.5 stars. This was a fun read- and quick once you get into it. It took awhile for the author to set up the characters and I'm not sure they needed all the set up they got. This made for a slow start. The pace picked up once the characters were on their way. Then I had troubles putting the book down.
While the settings were stunning and descriptions were beautiful- I had troubles with the attempt to touch on issues. I felt like either this should be a book about issues- racial and socioeconomic- or it should be about adventure- that to try to combine the two is hard to do and fell flat- and maybe a bit shallow.
Also, I didn't mind the open-ended finish, but disliked the characters' lacks of concern-felt a bit too much like- 'oh well, I guess we lost one, shucks.'
Still, I enjoyed it. Maybe I enjoy it more for the fact that I love that area of California, and enjoy a good adventure story- I think if you are into that, you can enjoy this too....more